Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Summer Goals

Palmer, Alaska
I can't wait for the summer. Alaska in the summertime is incomparable to any other place I've ever been (Honduras... Argentina... Mexico... any state in the lower 48). The weather is beautiful, the days are FOREVER long, and the scenery? I can't even describe it. My description would fall really freaking flat.

Also, the photo above is in Palmer, Alaska. Beautiful, right? This is just a normal summer day!

Here are my summer (outdoor) goals:

Run the Mayor's Half Marathon
Hike Crow Pass (again)
Bike the entire coastal trail
Kayak on Mirror Lake
Run up Flat Top (this was a goal last year too... but #pregnancy)

Alaska Gardens

Alaska Flowers

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Why I Refuse to Apologize for My Language (especially on Facebook)

Why I Refuse to Apologize for My Language

Lately, I've been seeing a lot of posts on Facebook that go something like this: "Sorry for the language, but..." or "This person cusses a lot, so sorry about that, but you should watch it if you like funny people doing funny things." I've also encountered people who have confronted me about using language on my Facebook page because "my kids are your Facebook friends."

Well, maybe your "kids" shouldn't be on Facebook. I say this in the gentlest way possible, because I know it's hard - as a mother, I don't want Diana to be subjected to anything the world has to throw at her until she's good and ready. But that looks more like me filtering what she's exposed to than trying to control the people around her.

I won't ever apologize for the use of "damn" or "shit" on my Facebook page because that is my space. For me. I don't have a Facebook for everyone else - I have a Facebook for me. Because I enjoy having a Facebook. I upload photos of Diana, connect with other new moms, play games, and I like a ton of pages.

I walked on eggshells for YEARS after being confronted about my language because I felt the right thing to do was obey the person who confronted me. And then, a few days ago, I was sitting in my living room chair and the memory came upon me and I had such a strong sense of irritation. At first I didn't know why, but as I dug deeper (something I've been trying to do lately - be more intentional about everything and due to that, find out why I feel certain ways about certain things) I realized that I was irritated and rubbed the wrong way because I am going to be 26 this year.

I am not 13. 
I am not 17. 
I am not your child.
I am not even a child at all. 

I am an adult. And I will choose to behave - in my own space - how I see fit. I won't come into your space and criticize you for posting too many pictures of David Beckham with no shirt (not that that offends me), so don't come into mine and try to control my language.

As a Christian, I fought for a long time against using profanity because I felt that it was wrong. While you won't ever catch me using His name in vain, you also won't catch me pretending to be something that I'm not just for you.

Not sorry.

I feel like I should end this post with a smiley face so that I don't get berated.

So here you go:


Friday, February 5, 2016

Letter to My Little: Love + Compassion

Dear Diana,

Someday, something is going to happen that will cause feelings of bitterness to arise in your heart. It will be something small - someone else got the last donut at your school's fundraiser or you didn't get the part of Snow White for the biggest play of the year - but it will feel giant to you. These feelings are commonplace and nothing extraordinary - but honey? These are so dangerous. Bitterness, even in the smallest doses, steals the joy away from your heart a tiny bit at a time, until one day you might wake up and feel that there is nothing left to be happy about.

What do I do, you ask? How can I avoid these feelings of irritation for others who have it better or don't appreciate what they got? Compassion, my sweet girl. Compassion leads to love. And trust me when I say this: love is what will carry you through the world on the wings of gentleness and a warm heart. I promise you that with love and compassion in your heart, the world will always be a fantastic place, because every trial that you encounter will be so much easier to overcome.

Moving past the rejections and the heartache and the heartbreak will be much less difficult with a little bit of love and compassion. Please listen to what I'm saying, Diana. Love never fails. I hope that 1 Corinthians 13 is a lamp unto your feet forever, and that you show each and every person you encounter the SAME love and all that compassion that you have in your giant heart. You're amazing. Keep being you, daughter.
I love you.

xoxo Mama

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Black & White Going Away Party

We said goodbye to our amazing worship pastor on Sunday. After 8 long years, it's really sad to see him go. He's the energy and enthusiasm of the worship team - dancing and praising with his whole body on stage. At first, having grown up so conservative, I was really taken aback at his method of praising, but after a couple years of watching him and getting to know him on a personal level (he officiated our wedding), I'm going to greatly miss worshiping with him.

I took all these photos in color and edited them to be black and white. Lots of them are blurry because everyone was moving around so much, but I kept them even so because they're pretty special. The last one of Justin hugging Mark with Diana in his arms is just so sweet.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Coffee Date IV

If we were on a coffee date...

// I would tell you I get to take this girl's photos again! I'm really excited. She's going to be posing with her horse and I couldn't be happier to be around horses again. I've missed them terribly. Sometimes the missing them even hurts.

// I would say I've been hustling my butt off lately. I'm almost burnt out completely... I have bit off too much and I'm afraid I'm going to fail all of it because of everything I'm committed to. I really wish I had someone here to support me and go to coffee with me and talk blog stuff and strategize and help me schedule. I'm really flailing around by myself without someone to physically encourage me.

// I'd probably mention I just learned to use Canva and I'd have to say - it's making my life a hell of a lot easier. I actually have time to write content now because I'm not too busy designing and obsessing over the design. The Blogging Bestie mini course design was done with Canva and looks GREAT. I've been considering making small videos with tutorials on Canva, Photoshop, and Illustrator and posting them on a YouTube channel. Maybe also some blogging videos.

// I would tell you my faith has been really, really minimal over the past month or so. It's like I had a great month in December, but then in January I completely stopped picking up my Bible or even caring to read it. I'm very discouraged and feeling somewhat empty.

// We'd probably talk a bit about how big Diana is getting and how, as she gets older, I get less and less time to myself. I actually thought it would get easier as she aged, but instead, she's now following me from room to room. Or crawling so fast that I can't leave her in a room with anything she can't have. Which is everything in this house.

// I'd tell you that I am more overweight than I have ever been in my life and because of it I feel pretty crappy all the time. I have no energy or desire to work out in the evenings, plus it's dark and cold (in the 20's) by the time Justin gets home and can watch the baby. During the day, I have no idea what kinds of things to do to get into shape with a 6 month old on my hands. Any ideas?

// I would probably gush a lot about how excited I am to move out of Alaska. I cannot WAIT to be able to go outside without my nose hair hurting!

If we were at coffee, what would you tell me?

© Thanks to Coffee
Maira Gall